Basic Search Strategies

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September 30, 2013

Basic Search Strategies

For the Carnegie-Vincent Library's Information Literacy Tutorial

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phlipsmith

September 30, 2013
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     Basic steps:  Select a database  Select keywords

    from research question  Expand your vocabulary using synonyms and related concepts  Construct search queries based on your keywords 2
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     These techniques should work in most library databases --

    and even in Google.  We will use Academic Search Premier for this example  Note that some databases may require additional steps or modifications. For more:  See our database tutorials  See the advanced search strategies slides
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     Start with your research question. For example: What affect

    do digital social networks have on personal communication skills?  Extract the key concepts from this statement.  Don’t have a research question?  See here for suggestions
  4. 5.

    Highlight keywords, ignore small or filler words and broad or

    general words: What affect do digital social networks have on personal communication skills?  Digital social networks  Personal communication skills  It may help to search as phrases using quotes:  “digital social networks”  “personal communication skills”
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     Get more and better results by:  Brainstorming and

    listing synonyms, examples, and related concepts for each keyword and phrase.  Use personal experience, class notes, reference databases (such as Gale Virtual Reference Library or Credo) or internet search engines such as Google to discover synonyms and related concepts
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     Digital social networks  Synonyms: online social networks 

    Examples: Facebook, twitter  Related concepts: social media  Personal communication skills  Synonyms: face-to-face  Examples: Talking, listening, eye contact, body language, non-verbal communication  Related concepts: Emotional intelligence
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    Keywords Synonyms/examples Related concepts Digital social networks Online social networks,

    Facebook, twitter Digital media, communications technology, privacy Personal communication skills Talking, listening, eye contact, etiquette, body language, non- verbal communication Emotional intelligence Synonyms are other terms or ways of expressing your keywords. Related concepts may be broader or narrower than your keyword. You may or may not want to search related concepts, depending on the topic and number of results
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     Combine your keywords into search queries  Use Booleans

    (AND, OR, NOT) Keywords Synonyms/examples Related concepts Digital social networks Online social networks, Facebook, twitter Digital media, communications technology, privacy Personal communication skills Talking, listening, eye contact, etiquette, body language, non-verbal communication Emotional intelligence
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     Use OR to connect synonyms and examples  (digital

    social networks OR online social networks OR facebook OR twitter)  (Personal communication skills OR talking OR listening OR eye contact OR etiquette OR body language OR non-verbal communication)  Use AND to connect these two:  (digital social networks OR online social networks OR facebook OR twitter) AND (Personal communication skills OR talking OR listening OR eye contact OR etiquette OR body language OR non-verbal communication)
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     Try multiple searches:  If too few results, scope-out,

    broaden the search ▪ Add more synonyms using OR ▪ Remove search terms not connected with OR ▪ Search on related concepts  If too many results, focus the search ▪ Add more specific search terms ▪ Do not search related concepts  If too many irrelevant results ▪ Reformulate some of your search terms ▪ Refine or do not search irrelevant related concepts
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     This is what we do! 423.869.7079 library@lmunet.edu Subject-specific librarian

    contacts: http://library.lmunet.edu/librarypersonnel